…We cannot afford the plots, says President
Government will have to spend at least N$29,8 billion to deliver the 200 000 plots it promised the nation last year, a figure which it says is ‘unaffordable’ and therefore cannot deliver on its promise.
Figures revealed by the Presidency this week after it approached a local engineering firm to cost the mega-project indicate that it will cost between N$29,8 billion to N$43,6 billion depending on the terrain on which the plots will be service.President Hage Geingob revealed the figures on Wednesday during a meeting with regional governors at State House when he revealed that his office had requested Windhoek Consulting Engineers to determine how much it will cost to service 200 000 ervens.
“As per the request of structure the current cost of servicing an erf ranges between N$149 000 and N$218 000 per erf based on two projects under execution in the northern and central areas of Namibia,” Geingob said.
Geingob bluntly said the amount required is unaffordable.
“There we have it from the professionals. I have a five-year term of which one year is already gone, Harambee is now trying to implement my policies in the remaining four years. Whether we are still aiming for 200 000, we would not have money and we will not even finish servicing all those plots in four years,” Geingob said.
According to the feedback from WCE, Geingob said, the exact cost to service 200 000 plots in northern Namibia where the sight conditions are slightly better will cost at least N$29,8 billion.
As for the central areas where the terrain is not so welcoming for servicing purposes, Government would have to fork out at least N$43,6 billion.
Geingob seemed perplexed by the public continued outcry for land, saying there are those who want to use the land situation to create chaos.
“Why do people want to create chaos on simple issues, we dialogue and we talk. But whenever we talk to maintain peace something else comes up. Do you[governors] not see it in your regions…why am I not getting reports on these issues?” questioned Geingob as he expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of some of the regional governors who he said are not even available at times when they are needed.
A day after Geingob launched his Harambee Prosperity Plan, Namene Kalili, Manager Research at FNB Namibia said it will take between 10-15 years before changes in the housing sector can be felt when he spoke at a Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry(NCCI) breakfast meeting on the Harambee plan.
“It will take at least 10-15 years before efforts to address the housing crisis can be felt in the country,” Kalili said.
According to Kalili: “Many people think it[housing solution] is going to be a quick fix solution, I must say this is a very slow process because you have to look at aspects such as surveying, property registration, town planning and design. So whatever programme government puts in place now will take time to make an impact.”
The housing experts called for patience amongst house-starved Namibians, especially considering the slow-pace at which government has built houses in the past.
The current housing backlog across the country is estimated to be over 110,000 and is growing at a rate of around 6,000 per year.
A landmark agreement signed by the government and leaders of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) group last July paved the way for the servicing of 200,000 plots countrywide and it led to the subsequent suspension of a mass land grab ploy that was slated for 31 July 2015.
The agreement was given further impetus in October last when Windhoek Consulting Engineers provided its engineering design services for Goreangab Extension 4 at no apparent cost.
WCE said at the time that based on past experience and previous extensions it has serviced-with a competent contractor on site-it should take between 14 and 16 months to service an extension of 300 to 350 plots with full specifications such as surfaced (tarred) roads, storm water, sewer, water and electrical reticulation.